Two new HHS initiatives will expand health services for people with HIV and for people with mental health and substance use disorders.
A new 3-year multi-agency project, Partnerships for Care: Health Departments and Health Centers Collaborating to Improve HIV Health Outcomes, is putting $11 million toward integrating high-quality HIV services into primary care. Run jointly by the CDC and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), and funded through the Affordable Care Act and HHS Minority AIDS Initiative Fund, the program will develop innovative partnerships between health centers and state health departments in Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, and New York. The HRSA-funded health centers will work with CDC-funded state health departments to expand the provision of HIV prevention, testing, care, and treatment services, especially among racial and ethnic minorities.
In June 2014, CDC awarded cooperative agreements to the 4 state health departments to begin putting the program into practice in communities most affected by HIV. Those health departments identified 22 health centers as their partners; the health centers are eligible to apply for funding to support workforce development, infrastructure development, HIV service delivery, partnership building, and quality improvement activities.
The HHS also announced $54.6 million in funding to support 221 health centers in 47 states and Puerto Rico to establish or expand behavioral health services for over 450,000 patients. The funds will be used for hiring new mental health professionals, adding mental health and substance use disorder health services, and employing integrated models of primary care.
In 2013, more than 1.2 million patients visited health centers for behavioral health services. The new grant funding, said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell, will “further reduce the barriers that too often prevent people from getting the help they need for mental health problems. Health centers with these awards are on the front lines of better integrating mental health into primary care and improving access to care through the Affordable Care Act.”
For more information on the projects and their funding, visit http://www.hrsa.gov/grants/apply/assistance/bphchiv and http://www.hrsa.gov/about/news/2014tables/behavioralhealth.